News / Middle East

Kerry: No Breakthrough but 'Real' Progress on Mideast Peace Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about his trip to the Middle East during a news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 30, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about his trip to the Middle East during a news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 30, 2013.
Scott Bobb
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has ended his fifth trip to the Middle East as secretary without an accord on resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But he says considerable progress has been made.

Secretary Kerry concluded four days of shuttle diplomacy Sunday, saying some very wide gaps have been narrowed in the positions of Israel and the Palestinians.

“We have made real progress on this trip. And I believe that with a little more work the start of final status negotiations could be within reach,” he said.

He said some specific details remain to worked out but he had been impressed with the seriousness of the parties and remains confident that they are on the right track.

Kerry met twice with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and three times with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu later told his Cabinet that he is willing to resume peace talks without preconditions.

He said but there were principles that we would guard strongly in the talks and first among them was security. Netanyahu said there would be no agreement that endangers the security of Israelis and any agreement, if achieved, would be brought to a referendum of the people.

The Palestinians' chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, reported that there had been no breakthrough but said Kerry's diplomacy was important to the Palestinians. He accused Netanyahu of placing obstacles to the diplomatic effort.

The peace talks have been stalled for several years. The Palestinians say they will return to negotiations if Israel stops all new construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and releases all political prisoners.

Israel says peace talks should resume without preconditions.

Kerry has said many of the disputed issues should be part of the negotiations themselves, adding that he does not want to broker endless negotiations about negotiating.

Nevertheless he said he plans to return to the region because both leaders asked him to and he believes the final goal is worth the effort.

Asked about the escalating conflict in Syria, Kerry said he hopes for progress on an international peace conference on Syria in upcoming talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at an Asia (ASEAN) regional conference in Brunei.

“There is no military solution to the problem in Syria. Now the [Bashar al-] Assad regime wants to move to the contrary. Clearly part of my conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov and with the Russians would be how we can maximize our efforts together to have an impact on this,” he said.

The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have died in the two-year conflict between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and anti-government rebels.

Political observers have expressed growing concern that the conflict is spreading to Syria's neighbors and aggravating sectarian tensions in the entire Middle East.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs